Benjamin Franklin is known for many things, but something you may not know is that he was essentially the founder of the United States Postal Service. By virtue of the fact that he owned a print shop in Philadelphia, Franklin was first appointed to be a postmaster by the British Crown in 1737. Later, when he served as a member of the second Continental Congress, he was appointed Postmaster General of what we now know as the United States Postal Service. That was July 26, 1775.
The world has changed in ways that Franklin could never have possibly imagined. The advent of the USPS was a bloodline for the fledgling United States and served as the only/most reliable way for people to get messages across great distances. It has certainly taken its lumps and been the butt of many jokes, especially around Christmas time, but the fact remains that if I need to send something from Texas to North Carolina the USPS is still going to be my first choice.
In recent days the USPS has come under attacks of a different sort. For the first time, a President of the United States has openly attacked, undermined and even defunded an agency for which he is responsible. President Donald Trump, who describes himself as the most popular, best, most respected president of all time, want us to believe that the entity responsible for ensuring our most precious packages arrive safely and securely can’t be trusted to deliver mail-in ballots.
Of course, he and his wife also registered to vote by mail in the coming election.
What’s really going on here? Do you have a feeling we’re not being told something? Good. Let’s take a look at the situation.
First, if Donald Trump truly believed what he says about himself, that he is the greatest, most popular president of all time, that his supporters won’t stand for him to leave office, even after two terms, then he should be EAGER to make voting as easy as possible. He should want all 328 million of his adoring citizens to be able to pour out their adoration at the ballot box on November 3rd. He should want to vastly expand the number of voting locations so that people don’t have to stand in lines for hours to cast the Trump ballot. He should want students, elderly people, people of color and servicemen and women overseas to vote quickly and efficiently.
Of course, that’s not what’s happening.
Making it harder for people to vote has been one of the primary objectives of the Republican Party over the last 20 years. Think I’m being partisan? Don’t believe me – look it up! The ACLU (my parents are tireless volunteers with this organization) has a fantastic breakdown of this phenomenon, which shows red states on the forefront of the voter suppression effort. They want to reduce the availability of absentee ballots, shrink the window to turn those ballots in, force college students to return to their home states to vote (in November???), and drastically reduce the availability of polling places in areas where the map tends to be blue.
Does this sound like something they would be doing if they were amazingly popular and viewed as the best thing since sliced bread?
Of course not. These are the tactics of people who are terrified of the democratic process sweeping them out of office. Their motto seems to be, “If you can’t win their votes, keep them from voting.”
There is nothing insecure or unreliable about the US Postal Service, at least nothing that government leadership interested in fully funding it and putting the most competent people in charge of it couldn’t fix. There is absolutely no reason to believe a vote cast by mail is insecure…or at least there wasn’t until President Trump replaced Postmaster General Megan Brennan with one of his corporate donors. I’m not entirely sure now. I plan to show up and cast my ballot in person and on paper…I guess that’s as sure as anyone can be that there’s a record of a vote.
We’ve come a long way since Benjamin Franklin. If you could go back in time and tell him about the Internet, email and text messaging he would probably think you were certifiable. The US Postal Service is, as it has always been, a vital way for Americans to interact with each other and with businesses. Unless our government purposeful destroys it, it will continue to be a vital service for years to come.
It’s on US to make sure we put good stewards in charge of it.
If you’re not sure how to do that, CLICK HERE.